Shifting Within Thumb Position

Here we are talking exclusively about shifts within thumbposition, independently of which fingerboard region (Neck, Intermediate or Thumb) we might be in. In other words, the defining characteristic of the shifts that we will discuss here, is that the thumb remains on the fingerboard before, during, and after the shift. Shifts On (and To) the Thumb fit into this category but have their own separate page (click on the highlighted link).

On this page we are looking at “Whole-Hand Shifts“, in which the entire hand moves. For shifts in which one part of the hand remains still (quite common in thumbposition), see the page Non-Whole-Hand Movements in Thumbposition.

Shifting on (or to) doublestops is more difficult than shifting to single notes, which is why we will look first at our single-note shifting.


Scale/Arpeggio-Type Shifts In Thumb Position: 2-1 Thirds

Assisted Shifts in Thumbposition

Samefinger Shifts in Thumbposition


Shifting on (or to) doublestops is more difficult than shifting to single notes but within doublestopped shifting we also have an “order-of-difficulty” progression, between two different types of shifts, which are, in order of increasing difficulty:

  • shifts in which the hand-frame stays the same
  • shifts in which the hand-frame changes during the shift

This is best explained with some examples:

WH regular and irregular